The Institute for Global Dialogue (IGD) is an independent South African-based foreign policy think tank dedicated to the analysis of, and dialogue on the evolving international political and economic environment and the role of Africa and South Africa. It advances a balanced, relevant and policy-oriented analysis, debate and documentation of South Africa’s role in international relations and diplomacy.
Origins and background
The Foundation for Global Dialogue was established in 1995 as a culmination of several years of efforts led by the former South African president, Nelson Mandela, in his capacity as the principal of the African National Congress. He and his team of leaders saw a need for a research organisation that would facilitate the new South Africa’s engagement with the changing global order after 1994. This was a period in which three vectors of change coincided: the tectonic shifts in global power politics following the collapse of the Soviet Union; the wave of democratization that hit Africa and south America; and the near-miraculous transition from apartheid to democracy in South Africa. The initial funding came from the German government and went towards establishing the Foundation’s competitive edge, a combination of policy-oriented research, catalytic dialogue, tailor-made publications and grant-making for NGOs interested in international relations.
After a strategic review in the late 1990s, the Foundation became an Institute, thus shedding the grant-making responsibility in order to strengthen its analytical and dialogue focus. The research agenda crystallised around three broad programmatic focuses:
- South Africa’s foreign policy analysis: This spans the making and management of foreign policy, multi-stakeholder interface, public diplomacy, development diplomacy (development cooperation, economic and commercial diplomacy and paradiplomacy);
- African Studies: Regional and continental integration, peace diplomacy, inter- and intra-African trade, and Africa’s external relations; and
- Multilateral Governance Analysis: Various international developments that relate to changes in multilateralism with the growing influence of non-state actors. This includes multilateral trade, international finance diplomacy, conflict in the Middle East and global governance.
We work towards a prosperous and peaceful Africa in a progressive global order.
Towards a better Africa. Towards a better world
Our mission is to become a foreign policy think tank of choice through cutting edge policy research and analysis, catalytic dialogue and stakeholder interface on global dynamics that have impact on South Africa and Africa.
We commit to work in a manner that promotes:
- Value addition
- Team work
In the long-term, the work of the IGD will be guided by the following objectives:
- To strengthen the IGD’s institutional positioning as a sought-after broker between the world of knowledge and the world of policy;
- To promote a broader understanding of the role of foreign policy and diplomacy in the pursuit of national and international developmental goals;
- To ensure that our analysis and dialogue have discernable policy outcomes and impact;
- To establish and strengthen mutually-beneficial strategic partnerships (with individuals and institutions) nationally, in the African region and globally;
- To enhance the standard of our service to clients and consumers of our work in order to ensure their satisfaction.
Association with UNISA
As part of its continuous repositioning as a world-class facilitator of ideas-making on foreign policy and international diplomacy, the IGD entered into an agreement with the University of South Africa in 2010. On this basis, the IGD has strategic partnership with UNISA to pursue joint research, dialogue and publications as well as giving the IGD access to some facilities and services.